The number of child laborers in Africa has declined by a third since 2000. The figure remains however very high, with around 152 million child laborers in the world and 72,1 million in Africa according to the ILO. Most of the chocolate producers, many of which are also active in Belgium, have taken up the challenge to produce only sustainable chocolate by 2020.
The Belgian government is very keen to cooperate with countries like Côte d’Ivoire to encourage companies to respect international standards in the field of human rights. It is important to ensure that the strengthening of our economic ties goes hand in hand with a better quality of life for our citizen, with a particular attention for the most vulnerable amongst them.
Belgium has marked its commitment to human rights in the private sector in a National Action Plan on “Business and Human rights”. The plan was adopted in July 2017 and will be soon officially presented.
One of the commitments of the Action Plan is to integrate an awareness-raising and information activity on this topic during economic missions abroad, in cooperation with the host country, private companies and civil society. Today’s seminar was the first of its kind, but the initiative will be repeated during future economic missions.
The seminar took part in the larger context of the relationship between the European Union and Africa. At the end of November, Abidjan will host the fifth EU-Africa Summit, where the focus will lay on the importance of investing in the youth.
The text of the speech delivered by Minister Reynders can be found here.
Didier Reynders is currently in Abidjan, where he takes part until Thursday in the first Belgian economic mission in Côte d’Ivoire.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium – Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.